Newsletter – July, 2021

On My Mind
Many senior executives today are in the process of creating a new or revised organizational vision statement as their organizations emerge from the pandemic. What are some of the most common types of vision statements? What are some effective approaches for creating a vision statement? My current research project is attempting to answer those and other questions. I’m in the process of analyzing 100+ vision statements which has so far revealed numerous new insights and surprises. There are several different types of vision statements with the most common type so far being what I call “B#1.” For example, “We want to become the best financial services company in the world.” The other common vision statement types seemed more creative and original. The vision quest was an important ritual in many Native American tribes including the Lakota (a.k.a. Teton Sioux). That ritual is explained in detail by Black Elk in the book “The Sacred Pipe” by Joseph Epes Brown. Give Chapter 4 a read if you are interested in studying the details of that ritual.

Interesting Stories
Went up on the mountain . . . To see what I could see.” Those are some of the lyrics in the song “Dreams” by The Allman Brothers Band. I recently experienced my own version of a vision quest on top of Mato Paha (a.k.a. Bear Butte) in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Some sources say Crazy Horse was born near Mato Paha and that he received many visions on top of Mato Paha during his life. Other famous Sioux including Red Cloud and Sitting Bull were also reported to have visited Mato Paha. My time on the mountaintop turned out to be a surreal experience and I now know why humans have vision quested there over the millennia. The mountain is now in Bear Butte State Park. There is a well-marked trail leading to a viewing platform at the top. The views are spectacular and all five of my senses were heightened – especially because of the ever-present sun, the gale force wind from the North on the first day, and the weaker yet steady wind from the South on the second day. Two primary themes emerged during the two days: Foundation and Synchronization. If you ever need a place to contemplate and imagine your future, then give Mato Paha a try.

Company News
There are several upcoming public SIS events: the Leaning Operations virtual short course on July 7-8, 2021; the Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt virtual short course on July 12 & 19, 2021; the 60-minute webinar on Visioning on July 30, 2021; the Lean Applications in Hospitals & Clinics virtual short course on August 2-3, 2021; the Strategic Improvement Green Belt virtual course starting August 9, 2021; and the Strategic Improvement Black Belt virtual course starting August 25, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
The article titled “Why Do So Many Strategies Fail?” by David J. Collis in the July-August 2021 Harvard Business Review shed some modern light on this important phenomenon. Most organizations have a clearly-defined and well-articulated strategy. However, many strategies fail for a variety of reasons. Collis identified some common mistakes including The Incumbent’s Mistake and The Entrepreneur’s Mistake. The author also discussed the importance of Implementation and Integration. This is an excellent article for anyone responsible for the success of their organization’s strategy process. As Warren Buffett once said: “I’d rather learn from the mistakes of others.”